Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

William A. Owens 
Doctor of Letters  1978
Status: conferred

Born into poverty in the cotton fields of East Texas, he has recorded in two honest and moving autobiographical books, This Stubborn Soil and A Season of Weathering, his early struggles to gain an elementary, secondary, and junior college education. His teaching career, begun in a two-room schoolhouse in Pin Hook, Texas, culminated in a professorship and deanship at Columbia University, but not before he had satisfied his thirst for further education with two degrees from SMU and a Ph.D. in English from Iowa. The dozen books he has published in the fields of fiction, biography, autobiography, history, and folklore-written with humanity, honesty, and humor-have brought him recognition in this country and abroad. For his contributions to letters, education, and folklore, Southern Methodist University is proud to confer upon its distinguished son the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.